A new lawsuit stemming from this summer’s racist mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, was filed on Monday and accuses the proprietor of the store where the killing took place as well as the white supremacist shooter’s parents of negligence and fostering an environment ripe for such hate-based violence.
Filed on behalf of Jerrald Gallion, 19; Anolt Joseph “A.J.” Laguerre Jr., 19; and Angela Carr, 52 — the three Black people killed in the racist carnage — the lawsuit alleges that the shooting at that fateful Dollar General store could have been prevented and specifically blames the establishment’s owners and operators in addition to the security company that “was expected/contracted to monitor and provide security services to the subject premises, at the time of the subject shootings.”
Those defendants — Dolgencorp, LLC; DG Strategic II, LLC; Corso General II, LLC; and Interface Security Systems, LLC — all “owned, managed, controlled, maintained and/or secured” the Dollar General store when the shooting took place, the lawsuit says.
The sprawling 91-page complaint also names the parents of Ryan Palmeter, who carried out the racist shooting on Aug. 26 minutes after having a similar plot foiled on the nearby campus of Edward Waters University, a historically Black college.
Maryann and Stephen Wayne Palmeter are being sued in part for “battery” over allegations they knew their son “was a dangerous person” who had “an obsession regarding firearms and violence” and was “living in a room filled with prescription medications and alcohol, as well as firearms,” the lawsuit says.
Specifically, the lawsuit accuses Maryann and Stephen Wayne Palmeter of failing “to take reasonable precautions to provide for the safety of the general public by failing to take action, including but not limited to informing the authorities about the threat posed by RYAN PALMETER, and by allowing him and/or assisting him to retain his firearms, despite the evident danger posed; and/or despite previously undertaking to take action to protect the general public from the threat posed by RYAN PALMETER, failed to reasonably execute and continue to execute such an undertaking.”
The lawsuit is seeking “damages in excess of $50,000.00 exclusive of interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Michael Haggard are scheduled to officially announce the lawsuit during a press conference in Jacksonville on Tuesday, when they will be joined by the families of Carr, Gallion and Laguerre.
In May, the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning Black people about living in and traveling to the state of Florida in direct response to anti-Black policies pushed by state lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in the advisory. “He should know that democracy will prevail because its defenders are prepared to stand up and fight. We’re not backing down, and we encourage our allies to join us in the battle for the soul of our nation.”
One month later, a white woman killed a Black mother of four in Ocala, which is about 80 miles northwest of Orlando. In that instance, Susan Lorincz, 58, allegedly called Black children racial slurs before fatally shooting their mother, Ajike “AJ” Owens, 35. Lorincz was charged with manslaughter with a firearm, culpable negligence, battery and two counts of assault, but not a hate crime.
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